Like so many things in life, your career will progress better if you have a plan. Unfortunately, too many workers don’t think ahead to the next move. If you want to eventually end up with the career you want, here are the steps to creating your career plan:
Acknowledge where you are
The first step is to look at where you are. What do you like about your current job? What do you wish was different? Honestly evaluate your current situation so that you have a clear idea of your starting point.
You should also acknowledge your skills and talents. Make a note at what you’re good at, and identify skills that might be marketable. Your skills inventory can be helpful as you plan your career.
Finally, figure out what matters to you. Do you prefer flexibility in a job? Do you want to work at a place with a mission that aligns with your own values? Identify the most important aspects of a job, and then compare that to where you are right now.
Identify your end goal
Now that you have a handle on where you are now, it’s time to decide where you want to be. What job would you like to have in the future? Do you want to be an executive? Would you like to be a college professor? Do wish you worked at a non-profit? Maybe you just want to be able to start a business and quit the rat race.
Figure out what it is you want to do, and then compare that to what you are doing now. Review your skills inventory. Identify which skills you can translate to your career goals. In some cases, you will build on your current career to reach the next level. In other cases, you will need to figure out how to translate your skills to an entirely new career.
Be realistic about what you want in the end, and how far that end goal is from where you are at now. Chances are that you will need to put in some hard work to succeed in the long run.
List out what you need to reach your goal
After figuring out where you are, and where you want to be, it’s time to list out what you need in order to reach your goal. Do you need additional education, or specific training? In some cases, all you need to do is take a few seminars to change careers, and in other cases you might need to go back to school to get an advanced degree.
You might also need to make a note of people you need to get to know, as well as conferences you can attend. Other items, depending on your goals, might include taking on more responsibility and volunteering to help with projects a little out of your comfort zone.
Once you know exactly what you need to do, identify the first step to take, and then move in that direction. Whether it’s volunteering somewhere, signing up for a night class at the university, or establishing your network, take that first step, and you’ll be on your way to a new career.